Immunoblotting detection of autoantibodies to human epidermis filaggrin: a new diagnostic test for rheumatoid arthritis

J Rheumatol. 1998 May;25(5):838-46.


Objective: We previously reported that so-called antikeratin antibodies (AKA) and antiperinuclear factor (APF) recognize epitope(s) present on human epidermal filaggrin. In the present study, we developed a new diagnostic test for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) based on detection of antifilaggrin autoantibodies (AFA) by immunoblotting.

Methods: We tested 670 serum samples, including 190 RA. AFA titers were estimated by immunoblotting on filaggrin enriched human epidermis extracts, and AKA titers by indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) on rat esophagus epithelium. Diagnostic values of the tests were compared.

Results: Each test resulted in diagnosis of more than 40% of RA samples, with a specificity of 0.99. Although the tests were strongly correlated, their association allowed the diagnosis of more than 60% of RA samples, with the same specificity.

Conclusion: Immunoblot detection of AFA, a simple and standardizable test, may be an alternative or complement to conventional IIF detection of AKA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Epidermis / chemistry
  • Epithelium / chemistry
  • Esophagus / chemistry
  • Female
  • Filaggrin Proteins
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / immunology*
  • Keratins / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rats


  • Autoantibodies
  • FLG protein, human
  • Filaggrin Proteins
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Keratins